Chest pain may be one of the scariest types of pain today. Those that experience do not know why they suffer from it unless they seek medical help. Does it mean they have heartburn? Or could it be an indication that they are suffering from a more severe life threatening problem? It may be difficult to distinguish between the two. However, it is imperative to understand this pain in order to live a more comfortable life and to eliminate unnecessary pain. Also, understanding chest pain could save a life.
Where It Starts And What It Feels Like
Chest pain starts in the chest, but it can be on one side or the other, in the upper chest near the throat, or in the lower chest, almost into the stomach or abdomen area. It can be dull and throbbing or stabbing and sharp, and it can show up immediately or build up over time. It can also work its way around the sides, into the back, or up into the neck and shoulders. Many people think that they are experiencing a heart attack when they have chest pain, but there are more than thirty causes for pain in the chest that are not related to a heart attack.
It is important that individuals do not panic when experiencing chest pain. Although this pain can be scary, individuals should stop and assess the severity, the onset, and other factors about how you feel. It's important to err on the side of caution if you feel the chest pain might be the sign of a heart problem, but being cautious is far different than panicking at every little ache, twinge, or bout with indigestion.
Common Causes And Conditions of Chest Pain
When it comes to chest pain, there are a lot of different causes. While a lot of chest pain involves heart problems, many do not. Therefore it is up to the individual to understand where their pain is coming from and why. Here are some of the more common chest pain causes:
• Indigestion – people have arrived at the emergency room, thinking that they were experiencing a full-fledged heart attack, only to find that they had indigestion and their heart was perfectly healthy. Indigestion can be very severe sometimes, and antacids can take a while to make it go away. It's one of the most common reasons that people experience pain in their chest.
• Heartburn – a common digestive problem involving excess stomach acid.
• Pulled muscles – pulled, strained, tense, or tight muscles are other common reasons why a person's chest will hurt. It could be all across the chest, or only in one small area. Moving around and feeling how the muscles work and interact with one another can help a person to feel more confident that his chest pain is muscle related.
• Asthma or allergies – because these kinds of problems affect the lungs and can make breathing more difficult, they can cause pain and tightness in the chest area. In some cases asthma can be severe, and checking with a doctor would be a good idea.
• Heart attack – a result of a blood cot in the heart muscle (the most serious of the causes of chest pain)
• Angina – this occurs when cholesterol-containing plaques build up gradually along the inner walls of the arteries. These plaques are typically hard and thick. They can thin the arteries, restricting the blow flood to the heart. This causes frequent episodes of chest pain.
• Aortic dissection – this is a life threatening condition. It occurs when the inner layers of the aorta separate. As a result, there is a tearing in the chest and back pain. This usually results from a significant, sharp blow to the chest, or it can develop because of high blood pressure.
• Coronary spasm – this happens when the arteries that supply blood to the heart go into spasm. This temporarily stops the blood flow. It will occur when an individual is at rest.
• Pericarditis – this condition happens when the sac surrounding the heart becomes inflamed. It is a short-term viral infection that causes chest pain.
• Panic attack – panic can lead to chest pain, rapid heartbeat and hyperventilation. It is a form of anxiety.
• Shingles – this is an infection of the nerves that produces blisters on the chest and back.
• Cancer – rarely cancer can involve the chest or will spread to the chest area.
Common Treatment Options for Chest Pain
There are a lot of ways to treat chest pain, depending on what's causing it. The good news is that most chest pain is benign and nothing to worry over. If you're unsure, it's vital that you see your doctor and make sure that your heart is all right. If it is and your pain is caused by something easy to treat and common, here are some good ways to treat it:
• Antacids are a great choice for anyone who has a lot of indigestion that causes chest pain. There are also over-the-counter and prescription acid reducers that can be taken.
• Rest is the key to treating aching and sore muscles, and ice and heat can sometimes be used for relief, too, depending on where the pain is located.
• Breathing treatments, inhalers, allergy shots, over-the-counter medications, and prescription options can help ease chest pain and tightness brought on by allergies and asthma.
• Aspirin is good because it inhibits blood clotting allowing for proper blood flow. It is especially good for people that have suffered a heart attack.
• Beta blockers are medications that relax the heart muscles and slow the heart rate. The help to decrease blood pressure, thus decreasing the demand on your heart.
• Bypass Surgery may be necessary for individuals that suffer heart attacks.
• Angioplasty and stenting are great treatment options for individuals that have heart problems.
• Anxiety medication is recommended for patients that are at risk for panic attacks.
Various forms of alternative medicine commonly treat chest pain today. Individuals that are seeking a natural remedy may be able to treat their problem using alternative forms of medicine. In many cases it is simply the lifestyle changes that make all the difference in a person’s symptoms. However, it depends on the situation. Alternative medicine may only be effective depending on the situation.
• Switch up the diet. Changing the diet could make a huge difference on the chest pain most people experience. A good majority of individuals experience it because of digestive related issues. Therefore, eating right will make all the difference. Avoid spicy foods and foods that are too acidic.
• Talk to a nutrition expert. A good health expert can advise individuals on the proper foods that will benefit their bodies.
• Meditate. It is helpful to relieve stress and remove bad toxins from the body.
• Loss weight. Many times heart attacks occur because individuals are overweight.
• Take vitamins daily. Also, herbs are helpful. This natural remedy benefits many and promotes a healthy mind and body.
When To See A Doctor for Chest Pain
Although many times patients with indigestion end up in the hospital, it is important that people don’t assume they have indigestion when they actually have a heart problem. Chest pain is a seriously problem. And it could be an issue that could indicate a need to seek immediate medical attention. Here are some guidelines to better help individuals understand when a doctor is necessary regarding chest pain.
• The emergency room is necessary for individuals suffering from chest pain that has spread to the arm, neck or jaw.
• Seek the emergency room when pressure is felt in addition to chest pain (especially on the left side.
• Shortness of breath or trouble breathing is a reason to go to the emergency room.
• Nausea, vomiting, sweating, and an uneven pulse or heartbeat are all reasons to go the ER if an individual already has chest pain.
• Individuals experiencing chest pain and a sense of doom should go to the hospital.
• Chest pain resulting from injury that is getting worse should be evaluated immediately.
• Individuals that have a history of heart problems and are experiencing extreme chest pain should visit the hospital.
• See the doctor for trouble breathing along with chest pain.
• See the doctor for a fever or coughing up something colored.
• Patients with palpitations, light-headedness, dizziness, fatigue, anxiety, or a heart murmer should see their doctor.
• Chest pain longer than 2 days should be evaluated by a doctor.
• See the doctor if burning above the stomach occurs.
• Call the doctor if a skin rash develops in the same place that the pain occurs.
Managing Chest Pain
Lastly, this pain may be difficult to manage because it often comes rather quickly. However, in many instances simply making better eating choices will make all of the difference. They will eliminate the risk of future health related problems. Also, they will ensure that individuals do not suffer because of a digestive related problem. It is up to the individual to manage their chest pain and be careful when it occurs.
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